Product Reviews Blog

Top Tips When Packing For Your Holiday

Jamie Smale - Monday, January 25, 2016

Top Tips When Packing For Your Holiday


There is nothing more exciting than going on a holiday, be it to a new destination or to a favourite resort. The least enjoyable part of any holiday is the packing!


The most common mistake when packing for a holiday is putting too much into your suitcase. Apart from not being necessary to take so many clothes or accessories with you, it can also cost a small fortune if your suitcase weighs more than the allocated baggage allowance.

Top 5 Packing tips


It is possible to fit a week's worth of holiday items into just your hand luggage! Here are our top five tips for packing light.


1)  Airlines weigh baggage not you, so it is a good idea to wear your heaviest clothes (trousers, sweatshirt, or lightweight jacket) to travel in. These items can be worn on cooler evenings for warmth.


2)  Buy a lightweight suitcase or bag

so you can afford to pack a little bit more in. 



3)  Buy shampoo and conditioner in the resort, it is often cheaper to buy abroad anyway. Towels and hair dryers will most likely be provided at your hotel.


4)  Whatever clothes you think you will need, get rid of about a third of them. Be completely ruthless, after all you will probably spend most of your time in swimwear.


5)  Rolling your clothes up rather than folding them takes up less space and avoids creasing too. Tuck your underwear into gaps and put socks inside your shoes.

Suggested Packing List for a Week in The Sun


Essentials


Tickets/booking confirmations (flights, accommodation etc.)
Passports
TravelInsurance Documents
Bank cards/foreign currency


Clothing


Sweatshirt/trousers/lightweight jacket for cool evenings (can be while travelling)
Shawl/overshirt - for warmth in the evenings or as a cover-up on the beach
Closed-toe shoes (can be worn to travel in)
Sun hat (can be worn to travel in, to avoid damage)
Shorts x 2
Day tops x 4
Lightweight evening outfits (mix and match) x 4 – non-crease dresses or shirts
Swimwear x 3
Underwear x 7 – these take up little room, so there is no need to cut back on such essentials!
Flip flops/sandals
Socks x 3 – only if your closed-toe shoes require them
Nightwear x 1

Toiletries and Medication


Toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste
Small roll-on deodorant
Hairbrush/accessories
Make-up if necessary
Razor
Small moisturiser with SPF
Paracetamol
Antiseptic cream
Plasters
Any personal medication


Provided by the hotel: Hair dryers and towels.
The following can be purchased in the resort: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, sun cream (very important!); after sun and bug repellent if necessary.


Everything Else


Mobile phone/charger/headphones
Camera/charger
Travel adaptor
Sunglasses
Pen/paper
Reading material
Day bag/handbag

Children coming too?


If you’re heading off on a family holiday, it’s understandable that you’re going to need more space and your luggage will be a little heavier. As well as their clothes and food requirements, make sure you pack plenty of sun protection, including a sun hat and some waterproof factor 50+ sun cream. It’s probably a good idea to pack some toys in your carry on bag to keep them entertained on the flight too.

Lower Back Pain

Jamie Smale - Tuesday, January 19, 2016



Lower Back Pain

The cause of low back pain can be complex, as there are many structures in the spine that can cause pain. Your doctor will ask you to describe the location, intensity and sort of pain, in addition to the history of the pain: when you started to feel the pain, and any actions or positions that make the pain better or worse.

Lower Back Pain Classifications

A diagnosis will typically classify the patient’s condition as one of three types of pain.

1. Axial low back pain is the most common type of back pain, is confined to the lower back and does not travel into the buttocks or legs. The pain can be sharp or dull, and can be severe enough to limit everyday activities, such as standing and walking. It usually worsens with certain activities (such as sports) or physical positions (such as sitting for long periods) and is relieved by rest. Most low axial back pain is acute – meaning it is short-lived and heals within six to 12 weeks – but can last longer and become chronic.

2. Lumbar radiculopathy (sciatica) is the second most common type of pain caused by a lower back problem. Caused by conditions that compress the nerve roots of the sciatic nerve, the pain is more severe in the leg than in the back. Symptoms are pain, numbness and/or weakness that is felt in the lower back (if at all) and on only on one side of the lower body, affecting the buttock, leg, foot, or the entire length of the leg.

3. Low back pain with referred pain is pain in the lower back that also radiates to the groin, buttock and upper thigh, but rarely below the knee. Patients describe the pain as dull and achy with varying intensities. Low back pain with referred pain is similar to axial pain and is managed with similar treatments.

The classification of pain is important in guiding the right treatment plan. For example, with some types of radicular pain, specific extension exercises might initially be prescribed to move the pain up the sciatic nerve and back to its source in the lower back.

Additional Diagnostic Tests and Scans

When pain is severe and is not relieved within 6 to 12 weeks, a specific diagnosis becomes more important to determine further treatment. Additional diagnostic tools include:

1. X-ray. Provides information on the bones in the spine; used to test for spinal instability, tumors and fractures.

2. CT scan. Captures cross-section images of the vertebrae and spinal discs; can be used to check for herniated disc or spinal stenosis.

3. Myelogram. Allows identification of problems within the spine, spinal cord and nerve roots. An injection of contrast dye illuminates the spine prior to an x-ray or CT scan.

4. MRI scan. Displays detailed cross-section of the components of the spine. Useful to assess issues with lumbar discs and nerve roots, as well as ruling out causes of lower back pain like spinal infections or tumors.

Typically the spine specialist will have a good idea of the cause of the patient’s pain from the symptoms and physical exam, and will use the above diagnostic tests to confirm and clarify the diagnosis and/or to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms.

It is also important to note that sometimes low back pain actually has no identifiable anatomical cause, but this doesn't mean that the pain doesn't exist. Even with no clear cause of pain, the patient's pain is still real and should be treated.

Knowing the Pain of a Sore Back

Only those who have suffered from a sore back can know and understand just how debilitating it can be. Even something as simple as a sneeze can cause severe pain spasms when you have lower back problems. To lift your foot to press on the pedal of a kitchen bin is agony, or even to stoop over a little to put rubbish in the same kitchen bin can cause a lot of discomfort. The 60lt Original series bin from Ideal Home Products is a great bin for those with lower back pain. This bin has an automatic sensor lid so it opens with just a wave of your hand over the lid, and because it stands at almost one metre tall you do not need to stoop over to place rubbish into it.

Our food scraps can feed the earth.

Jamie Smale - Wednesday, November 25, 2015



None of us like to waste food.

Apart from the likes of nobility of centuries gone by, when having more than you could actually consume was a status symbol, the throwing away of good food is seen as excessive, selfish and overindulgent. There have always been ways to use up left-over food, should it be turning them into a meal the next day, giving them to the homeless or even just feeding them to the family dog (extra cabbage and potatoes can be used to make Bubble and Squeak.


Grow on Trees”

What we need to remember is that even though some foods do “grow on trees” it takes time to plant, grow, harvest, package, bring to the local shop, be bought by us and appear on our plates as part of a meal. There are very few groceries that are still in their freshest form when we get our hands on them. Even if something like an orange is still in its natural state, a series of checks will have been carried out to make sure that it is of a high quality.

Unless everything you eat is grown in your back garden, or on a local farm, transport means our food has a bigger impact on the environment. Even lovely British Queen potatoes bought from your local green grocer might have travelled the length or breadth of the country.


Food Recycling

In the latter years of the 20th century we were a lot more negligent about caring where and how our waste was disposed of. We threw half-eaten meals into the bin without considering all the hard work that went into producing it. Now in the 21st century we have more of a sense of responsibility regarding our wasteful nature. Food recycling has increased year after year, with most local councils now providing a bin for food waste, a bin for recyclable goods (glass, paper etc) and a bin for other household waste. Now we are using every bit of food whether it be in our stomachs or as compost for our gardens or crops. We shall harvest the benefits for as long as this sense of duty continues, teaching our children and encouraging our friends and family to do this too.

If you are interested in a very useful product for the home or office, our 20l+20l Double Compartment Kitchen Recycling Bin is a great solution. It saves space and makes separating food waste easier than ever. With the two internal compartments you can have one side for general rubbish and the other side for food scraps. If you are happy with your own arrangement please do carry on. The important thing is that we each do our bit toward returning those nutrients to the ground, after all that is where our next meal is coming from.

Bathroom Renovation on a Budget

Jamie Smale - Wednesday, November 11, 2015



Bathrooms are no longer the uncared for spaces in the house. Although the bathroom has always been an essential room in the home they are now being focused on much more, so much so that every homeowner wants to have a luxurious bathroom that is no less appealing than any other spot in the house. However, when you are planning bathroom renovation there is a high chance that you will end up spending a lot of money. If you want to make your bathroom look amazing, yet keep the spending to a minimum, take a look at some remodelling ideas below.

Pick the Right Combination of Tiles

Tiles can be quite expensive, especially if you are buying the fancy ones. However, if you have a limited budget, you might want to control your urge of installing stylish tiles all over the bathroom. It is best to go for a combination of tiles. Buy some fancy tiles only for the wall of the bathroom sink or the shower, and install affordable tiles in the rest of the bathroom. This is a great way to not only add more style to your bathroom, but also keep your budget on track.

Add Shiny New Fixtures

Door knobs, shower fixtures, towel holders, toilet roll holders and wastepaper bins are all things that help upgrade the look of your bathroom. Therefore, if you are remodelling your bathroom, make sure you get new fixtures. Shiny metal fixtures look highly appealing and give your bathroom a fresh look.

Give the Walls a New Paint Job

Water makes bathroom walls look stained and damages the look of the paint. Therefore, when you are renovating your bathroom, make sure you get a new paint job done. If you do not have enough room in your budget to call a professional, do it on your own. Pick a colour that complements the bathroom tiles.

Bathroom renovations don't necessarily have to be pricey. You can make the bathroom look smashing without going over of your budget with the advice given in this article. When you are not able to do the remodelling job on your own, always call a professional bathroom remodelling company to help you.

A Single Mum's Guide to Home Improvement

Jamie Smale - Thursday, October 29, 2015

Home improvement tips for single mums.

When I bought my house four years ago, my daughter was about to turn three and I revelled in the security of owning my home. Being a single mum was (and is!) both a challenge and very rewarding, but I knew that having a house to call my own was the best thing that ever happened to my daughter and me.

My house was twenty years old when I bought it, and it was in fantastic condition. Still, as time passed, a variety of issues cropped up. I think my way of dealing with home improvements is pretty typical for single a woman who owns her own home. Hopefully, my experiences will help you manoeuvre through the waters of home improvement and maintenance. Here is what I have learnt:

You can do wonders with a good book and a toolbox.

For my birthday the year I moved in, my sister-in-law gave me a toolbox filled with the basics: screwdrivers, wrenches, a hammer, nails, nuts and bolts, and so on. She also gave me a book on basic home repairs. Her gift literally provided me with the tools I needed, but it also gave me the confidence to tackle minor home improvement tasks. My advice: invest in some tools and use a book or online sources to guide you through the routine maintenance that your house will need.

Ask for advice.

As a single woman who is now 48 years old with a very limited knowledge of more complex home improvement issues, I am always scared that I'll be taken advantage of by a repair company. When my tumble dryer quit on a very wet day I had no way of knowing if I really needed a new appliance or just a part replaced. I have learnt to call on family members (mostly my dad) and friends - whose combined knowledge far and away exceeds mine - to get their advice. They have pointed me in the right direction on a number of occasions.

Keep an eye out for what is happening with your neighbouring houses.

All of the houses closest to me were built by the same builder at the same time. Getting to know my neighbours and talking to them about home improvement has helped me get a sense of what I need to plan for. For example, two years ago I began to see that the houses around me were starting to get new roofs. Although I didn't have any leaks yet I decided to replace the roof a few months ago. I thought it would be worth it to do now before there were any secondary problems from a leaky roof.

Always ask for referrals, and then check them out for yourself.

Through my neighbours' referrals, I have been able to find a great roofer, a faultless exterior house painter, and a terrific tile guy. But I don't just rely on their word. It is always best to check with your local council to see if they have a list of approved businesses. I get all estimates in writing, and ask for proof of Public Liability Insurance.

Do not put your head in the sand.

On several occasions when I have chosen not to deal with a home improvement issue I have always regretted it. For example, I knew there was a damp patch on my bedroom wall, unfortunately, by letting it go for so long it cost me much more than if I had dealt with it immediately.

Make a list.
This last piece of advice is basic, but crucial. Start and keep a home improvement list. As a single mum, it is all too easy to get caught up in the hectic pace of daily life and let routine home maintenance fall by the wayside. I divide my home improvement list into three sections: one for items that need attention in the next couple of months; one for home improvement projects for the coming year; and one that sets out what I want to accomplish over the next five years. The short- and medium-term lists keep me motivated, while my long-term list helps me save the money needed for the bigger items.

10 Recommended Home Improvements for Adding Value to your Home

Jamie Smale - Monday, July 20, 2015

http://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/23/590x/painting-431324.jpg 

 

Results from a survey carried out by 100 estate agents across the UK reveal the 10 most common value adding home improvements.

1) Loft Conversion - £22,000
2) New Extension - £19,000
3) New Kitchen - £10,000
4) New Conservatory - £9,000
5) New Windows - £6,000
6) Central Heating - £5,000
7) New Bathroom - £5,000
8) Re-decoration - £4,000
9) Resurfaced Driveway - £3,000
10) Garden Decking - £3,000

Home Improvements can be a very successful future investment. Figures above are based on typical value and are dependant on the capital invested in your home.

Not only can home improvements add a substantial increase to the value of your property, they also act as a very practical enhancement to your property, especially if you have a growing family or are not wishing to actually move away from where you currently live, as it maybe close to family and friends.

In the table above, the fitting / installation costs have been remove to show the real or true equity increase. i.e. a new Loft Conversion could cost £18,000 and could increase your property value by £40,000, so a true equity value increase, after costs, of £22,000

and similarly,

A new Extension could cost £30,000 and could increase your property value by £49,000, so a true equity value increase, after costs, of £19,000

A new Kitchen could cost £8,000 and could increase your property value by £18,000, so a true equity value increase, after costs, of £10,000

A new Conservatory could cost £8,000 and could increase your property value by £17,000, so a true equity value increase, after costs, of £9,000

New Windows could cost £8,000 and could increase your property value by £16,000, so a true equity value increase, after costs, of £8,000

New Central Heating could cost £7,000 and could increase your property value by £12,000, so a true equity value increase, after costs, of £5,000

A new Bathroom could cost £4,000 and could increase your property value by £9,000, so a true equity value increase, after costs, of £5,000

 

Bin Swab Tests Reveal Some Disturbing Facts

Jamie Smale - Thursday, April 23, 2015


Have you ever played the game “Would You Rather”?

I got one for you…

Would you rather eat your dinner off your toilet seat?

OR

Sat beside an open bin that has not been emptied for a week?

The following research may help you answer this question…

 

Deadly Germs in your Kitchen Bin


 

How environmentally aware are you? Do you recycle as much as possible or consign all your rubbish to your wheelie bin oblivious to the effect your habits have on the planet? Maybe you live in a council area where waste collections have been reduced to fortnightly or even 4 weekly in a bid to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill sites, and so you have been forced to rethink your waste disposal methods. Whichever side of the environmental fence you are on, for most of us, when it comes to household waste, out of sight is out of mind. We put the rubbish in the bin, close the lid and move on. But what happens in the bin? We know it can’t be too clean in there, and we know it will smell a bit if the council don’t empty it for 2 or even 4 weeks.  Are you reassured by the Environmental experts employed by some councils who say there is no greater risk to the public health from fortnightly collections than from weekly? According to the Mail online, researchers from University of Northampton have reported that they found bacteria from the same family as that of the plague in bins emptied fortnightly. Yes that’s right THE plague! That got your attention didn’t it?

 

Bacteria Festering Near Where You Eat


 

Further tests show that a bin which gets emptied weekly has around 4 million bacteria on the test swab. Now to get this into perspective, your average toilet seat is estimated to produce around 500 bacteria on the same size test swab. So your weekly bin has 8000 times as much bacteria as your loo. What happens to the numbers if we leave that bin with its 4 million bacteria for another week? Double? Triple? Try this: leave that same bin for another week and the 4 million has become 240 million! Yes you read it right… 240 million bacteria, sitting a few feet away from where your children play, where you eat… aren’t you glad you asked?

 

The Bacteria in Your Kitchen Bin Grows Exponentially

 

 

This bacteria, how harmful can it really be? Well, you may not want to read this if you’re eating; the weekly bin, with its average household contents: nappies, dead flowers, food waste, packaging, sanitary waste contains more than enough bacteria of various strains to cause serious stomach upsets, 4 times the danger threshold for enterobacteriacea (causes stomach upsets) and 79 times in the case of e-coli (which can be fatal)!  But in defense of weekly bin collections, the levels of mould which causes food to rot and smell, is generally below the accepted danger threshold...small comfort when you consider that yeast levels which also cause rotting are double the danger threshold at over 2000 in the same bin. Now, the same bin, left for 2 weeks, takes these figures to a whole new level. 430 times the danger threshold for e-coli, 200 times for enterobacteriacea; yet we are expected to accept that this risk is not any greater than weekly emptied bins. It doesn’t end there – that extra week waiting to be collected raises yeast levels from 2000 to 32million, and mould levels from an acceptable 900 after a week to 20 million after 2 weeks. The difference this huge leap makes is in how much the discarded foodstuffs have rotted and the smell created. And of course it is smell which attracts vermin, so now there’s a whole new problem to deal with. Rats love bad smells, so a 2 week old bin full of food is irresistible to them, and rats carry disease. Wherever there are rats there is rat urine, and it could and probably is everywhere. Your paths, lawns, the bins themselves, garden furniture, toys left outside...you get the idea. This is serious sickness we’re talking here.  No matter how careful you are with hygiene, the risk is significant.

 

How to Reduce the Germ Fest and Cross Contamination from Your Bins

 

So what can you do? Well, you could burn your rubbish, releasing all those toxins into the air, to cause immense danger to anyone breathing in the fumes, and treat your neighbours to clouds of thick black smoke which might not make you too popular and would certainly lower the tone of the neighbourhood.  You could slip away in the night and tip your rubbish somewhere illegal, thus ‘passing the buck’ and if you get caught, gaining yourself a court appearance and a hefty fine. Or you could be a responsible citizen and simply wait for an election and vote out the councilors who champion fortnightly collections.

While we may be at the mercy of the ‘powers that be’ when it comes to how often our rubbish is removed, we can and should do what we can to minimize the risks. Our advice is to dispose of the waste carefully in the first place.

 

  • Don’t over-fill your kitchen bin as this will mean you will probably touch the rubbish when taking the bag out.  Filling the bin two thirds full will allow you plenty of bag to hold onto.
  • Don’t own a bin that is too big for your family.  It will take ages to fill.  If you are a family of 3 – you don’t need an 80L bin – go for a 42L instead.
  • Recycle as much as possible. There are some great bins on the market to make it easy for you.  You can buy a bin that has 2 compartments, one for waste and one for recycling, each with its own bin liner, so you don’t have 2 bins cluttering your kitchen.
  • Do NOT touch your waste bin. I bought a stainless steel bin with an automatic sensor in the lid, so I don’t even have to touch the lid of the bin!
  • Wrap any food or sanitary waste carefully before binning it, and make sure your bins have tight fitting lids.
  • If you are really keen on hygiene solutions and will go to any length then use 2 bin liners instead of 1
  • Be careful with hygiene; washing hands after touching the bins, putting toys away at night, washing hands before eating…all these things while obvious are none the less important.

Home Help For People with Arthritic Fingers

Jamie Smale - Monday, December 08, 2014




Home Help For People with Arthritic Fingers

Life at home can be difficult for the arthritic.  Those who have arthritic fingers would find a multitude of everyday tasks very difficult while those who are fortunate to not have this affliction take doing these things for granted.
At Ideal Home Products Ltd, we retail a lot of automatic products that while they have many good reasons to own them, they are of great benefit to the arthritic and can make their lives a lot easier.

 

1.     Our AutoBin Range

AutoBin is a brand of automatic opening and closing kitchen bins.  They not only look great, are hygienic and come with a 10 year warranty but they are very useful to an arthritic person!  Opening a bin lid may not seem like a big deal to many people but it is if you have arthritis.  With the AutoBin, you simply approach the sensor on the lid and the lid will open.  The lid remains open until you love your hands completely.  No touch to open and no touch to close.  Completely hands-free!  Another benefit is when it comes to removing the bin bag.  The AutoBin has been designed to be tapered (wider at the top than the bottom). This means you can slide the bag out of the bin easily without it being a game of tug-of-war!  Great if you have a bad back too.

2.     AutoTowel

 

Even something as simple as taking some kitchen roll from a roll can be difficult and painful to arthritic fingers!

Our AutoTowel product (AKA CLEANCut), is an automatic sensor kitchen roll dispenser/cutter.  It is a stainless steel wall mounted unit that will encase your kitchen roll (just ordinary kitchen roll, nothing special).  It works off the mains so install it near a plug socket.  
All you do is move your hand toward the dispensing sensor on the right of the unit to dispense any length of paper towel you want, then move your hand toward the sensor on the right of the unit to cut it.  Again, completely hands-free and touchless!

3.     AutoStirrer

 

Arthritic fingers would be problematic gripping a wooden spoon for 10 minutes and constantly stirring a sauce on the hob – right?  Well how about our automatic food stirrer that is heat resistant in boiling liquids and will just keep stirring for you constantly!  3 speeds to choose from.  


We hope that we can make life a little more comfortable for the arthritic with our innovative home products.  Like our Facebook page and get updated of our new products as and when we add them to our website.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday & Crazy Ironing Board Discounts

Jamie Smale - Thursday, November 27, 2014

 

Happy Black Friday!  It is now Thursday afternoon and we can't wait!  As of NOW and right through until 11:59PM on Cyber Monday 2014, we are doing the following crazy deals on our i-lad Ironing Board/StepLadders...

 

 i-lad Mini:  RRP £159.95

SPECIAL BLACK FRIDAY/CYBER MONDAY DEAL:  £50!

There's more...

Enter Code:  blackfrizeroship (to get free shipping in the UK ONLY)

i-lad Ample:  RRP  £209.95

SPECIAL BLACK FRIDAY/CYBER MONDAY DEAL:  £50!

 

There's more...

Enter Code:  blackfrizeroship (to get free shipping in the UK ONLY)

 

Stainless Steel Kitchen Sensor Bins For £30!

Jamie Smale - Tuesday, November 25, 2014

 

http://www.interimhealthcare.com/kentico_ihc/files/df/dfa1aa9b-24b8-4d31-96fd-02f4e2c73a5e.jpg

 

 

 

 

Stainless Steel Kitchen Sensor Bins for £30!

 

It is no secret that you can purchase a lovely looking kitchen stainless steel kitchen waste sensor bin for as little as around £30, google it and you will find them.  The AutoBin brand is more than triple the price!  How is this justified and why should you choose AutoBin over cheap brands?

 

First of all, AutoBin is not the most expensive by a long way!  Check out our comparisons table with other leading brands (Brabantia & Simple Human).  You will see that we DO have the best prices when compared to brands of equal calibre.

What then can we say about the much cheaper sensor bins that are of an extreme low price in comparison?

We could discuss the cheap grade materials and poor quality production in regard to the cheap Chinese imitations but let’s not.  We could also discuss the fact that you cannot get spare parts when parts fall apart due to the fact that the company you bought from saw an opportunity for a large “Job-lot” and when sold out the product was discontinued!  Again, let’s not even go there.  Instead, let’s keep this simple and do some simple maths…

 

A Cheap £30 Sensor Bin is Actually Expensive

 

If you look at reviews online, you will see that in a lot of cases, these cheap bins last only a few months at best.  How many people actually get their money refunded?  How many people go to the hassle of trying to get refunded for the sake of £30 – the price of a family takeaway!

Let’s be kind and assume that on average the bin will last the duration of the warranty – 1 year.

 

Cheap Imitation SensorBin Vs Great Value AutoBin

For arguments sake, we will compare with our bestselling 50 litre Oval AutoBin

 

 

AutoBin

Cheap Copy

Price

£84.95

£30

Life Expectancy

10 years

1 year

Price Over 10 Years

£84.95

£300

Sensible Choice

 

 Conclusion:  Pay triple the price to start with and look back after 10 years and realise that you actually paid a third of the price of a cheap bin!