If you can stand the heat…

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With homeowners looking to improve rather than move from their homes, Dean Chughtai highlights some current towel rail and radiator style trends.

With the development of luxury products such as Jacuzzi baths, walk-in showers and wet rooms has helped to change the perception of the bathroom as a simply functional space. With increasing numbers of customers taking an interest in the style and efficiency of their heating appliances, designer radiators and heated towel rails are becoming commonplace. Many radiator manufacturers, such as Stelrad, now offer a range of visually appealling products specifically designed to suit any bathroom and budget.

Heated towel radiators act as both a towel hanger and a radiator, and are now being fitted in many modern bathrooms to save space. Towel rails heat up quickly and maintain their heat warmth, providing heating not just for the towels, but the rest of the room as well. After all, who wants to step out of the shower or bath during the colder months of the year and face drying themselves with a cold towel?

The design of heated towel rails has evolved over the years, moving from simple, ladder styles, such as the Esprit, to chrome and steel designs, available in various spiral and symmetrical shapes, such as the Optica. To ensure longevity, towel rails should be seamlessly welded and finished in the highest quality to prevent any rusting or blemishes for the humid bathroom environment.

One key decision when choosing a towel radiator is whether the towel rail is to be used as the primary source of heat for the bathroom, or if it is to complement another emitter. This usually depends on the size of the bathroom itself, which in turn dictates how much wall space is available.

Whatever model chosen it should be proportional to the room size, in order to provide the desired heating conditions.

What to Buy and When?!

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December is one of the most expensive times of the year for many people, and when it has passed hopefully you received loads of money from relatives!! Why not think ahead in 2013 and buy at the right time for the following year?
I think you could save 100′s of pounds simply by planning ahead and buying at the right time. So by having a look at sales throughout 2012 and previous years I give you some tips of what products are at their lowest prices and when.

This is usually a time when we are all a little low on cash, and if I have been lucky enough to come out of the December holiday period with a little cash I tend to buy those gifts I actually wanted in the January sales! But Now is the time to think of others for the following Christmas.

1) Buy for next Christmas, not the main gifts but the things that you drain the bank balance in November/December like Christmas Cards, wrapping paper and Christmas decorations etc. Look for large discounts on these items 50-70%

2) New white goods products get released in January, so look out for last years models with decent discount

3) Table wear is discounted this time of year as well, so grab a bargain on everything from table covers to place mats and dining sets.

The month of love with Valentines on the 14th, this often drains the average persons spending power so look for the deals. Forget the Romantic meal and dozen red roses, take your partner shopping instead!

1) Fires and heaters for the home. Although it is still very much winter at this time many manufacturers will begin to run low on stocks or begin to turn their attentions to next Autumn and the newer products they will release. This is therefore a great time to upgrade your fireplace (but an extremely cold time to do so, hence the discounts!)

2) Sports equipment, specifically outdoor goods. During February it is too cold for many outdoor activities and the enthusiasm for many gym goers runs out (excuse the pun!). Many sport companies reduce prices and release new models ready for spring/summer sales. A great time to get a great deal.

The month for Mothers day (in the UK) can the weight of the wallet, so buy your mum something she would like (and that has a great sale price tag on it!)

1) How about some pots and pans? Get the set you always wanted and finally have a matching set! Great saving to be had home ware items this month.

2) People start planning holidays around this time of year, luggage should begin to drop in price ready for new releases.

3) Towards the end of the months winter sports equipment as well as Wellington boots should be much more affordable, so get what you need for next winter now.

In the UK we spend at Easter time, not only on chocolates but toys and gifts too. Buy during this month and put the items away for the colder months. Many ‘last season’ items will be reduced, here are some to look out for:

1) New fabrics, if you can sow, or know someone who can, get great deals as new fabric lines are introduced. If you need new curtains, cushion covers or a new suite?!? Now is the time to buy.

2) Any winter goods that remain in shops should be up for a decent discount to make way for the spring/summer goods. If there is something you like that is a winter product and it isn’t discounted point this fact out and ask for a discount. It might seem cheeky but maybe the product has been overlooked and the shop may welcome getting rid of this old stock. Trust me once you get used to asking for a discount you’ll be looking for the opportunity and doing it everywhere you can ;)

3) If your a lady then seek out the winter tights, these will cost a small fortune in the winter and styles never change that much but the price does in April

Mid Spring in the UK, a great time to be a gardener, so don’t expect gardening products to be cheap, there will be multi buy savings but we recommend updating the following:

1) Need or want a new TV? Many manufacturers of televisions bring out new models in May/June. This is to encourage men (generally) to watch summer sport in the best quality through a TV as is possible! So watch for the older stock reductions. Remember it still is a new TV it’s just a dated design in the manufacturers eyes, the likely-hood is that the new design TV is exactly the same with a different fascia or front to it.

2) May is also a good time to get a great deal on tyres, not too sure why?! Maybe we start to travel more as the weather warms up or new tyre designs appear? Anyway buy them now if you can :)

June is when we show our love to our Dads with fathers day, however most dads don’t help us with gifts as they don’t want anything. Shops tend to make that decision for us and Dads and have great deals on Dad related stuff. So unlike many other months June is a month where you should hold out to last minute and buy what you need just before needing it

1) Shirt and tie sets usually drop in price the closer to fathers day you get, if you want to buy for the next fathers day then do it the day after!

2) Hand tools and powers tools usually drop in price this month too.

3) Here’s something a little different, how about a rug or carpet? Some great bargains to be had here too.

It’s Summer time so now the time to buy winter things…….wrong!

1) Swimming shorts, trunks, suits and costumes all can be found marked down during this month. Not only due to new designs but shops like to make sure there stocks are depleted by the end of the summer.

2) Men’s shoes. Guys tend to slip on flip flops or sandals. People spend time and money on holidays and the shoe market feels the pain. You can help and get some great shoes too :)

3) CD/DVD/Blue-Rays MP3players all drop in price. Some great gifts for the home or for next Christmas can be had now!

Most people have holiday plans or trips to look forward to during this month. The kids are off from school, we barbecue more, eat more and consume alcohol (quite a lot if there’s a big sporting event on!) So here’s where to save a bit:

1) Make Up and cosmetics see reductions in price so buy your years supply now

2) Many car companies have excellent deals on a new car, some deals include insurance, servicing and even a fuel allowance and can work out extremely reasonable as long as you keep within the car usage guidelines.

3) Plan next years garden now, spring and summer bulbs, seeds and evens trees/shrubs may be reduced so think ahead

Back to school signs appear and the Summer draws to a close so what is good to buy now?

1) School uniforms is something you’ll have to buy now and you can’t guess their sizes for next year, but in recent years not been too costly. Still buy what you think your kids will actually need throughout the year now even if it means getting a size bigger for the second half of the year.

2) Stationary is extremely cheap now too, so whether it’s for your personal needs or work bulk buy a years supply and save a small fortune.

3) Gardening discount for BBQs, garden buildings and plants all reduce in price in September. Be shrewd and buy now.

With Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas all coming close together we all spend a little less in October thinking of the events ahead.

1) As we tend to socialise less to save money sales in jeans plummets, get the top branded pair of jeans at a fraction of the price in October. These should last you years so well worth buying when cheaper.

2) The weekend before Halloween sees some pre-’Black Friday’ sales on line. Savings of up to 30 percent may be found on all manner of products so get surfing for Christmas gifts that will arrive in plenty of time cutting your stress levels before the big day!

Where has the year gone? Once Bonfire night on November the 5th passes we all start to think of Christmas (whether we want to or not), as shops and adverts start to push the event.

1) Halloween has been and gone and shop owners want rid of the stock so help them at the right price and store away for next year

2) Women’s shoes get a discount this month so get those shoes for the office party now

3) Bed clothes and towels/linen get well discounted this month. It’s always nice to sink into new bedding on Christmas eve so buy it at the right price

Everyone tries to get ready for Christmas and please friends, family, work colleagues etc. Goodwill goes out the window with long queues and rush to get the must have gifts for the little ones etc So keep the holiday season vibe with these savings on:

1) Children’s clothes, these become much more affordable in many stores being overlooked for toys and other essentials. Buy the kids you know some new threads for the big day!

2) Go for a posh meal, the sort of establishments that won’t hold Christmas functions. They feel the effects of other eateries having Christmas functions and will reduce their prises to compete!

3) Promote your business in the paper, advertising space is discounted in December.

4) Feel like a challenge? Why not book a team building event for the next year or sign up to an individual event? These will have early booking discounts and are a great way to keep motivated to keep fir well into the new year!

Although these are just suggestions from what I have experienced during the past year they could well save you a small fortune. I have actually practised what I preach with respect to this and I would advise making an accessible list of what you have bought and when and who it is for. This year I bought Christmas cards in November and when I got the Christmas decoration from the loft in December I discovered the Better quality cards I had bought in January which I had 70% reduction in price.
I know not everyone is going to pre plan after reading this but please I implore you to try to get into the habit of asking for discount, particularly on bulk buying. Many companies will make extra money on delivering more than one product to an address (one shipping cost that they incorporate into all of their items) so ask for a discount. An example of this is I bought a TV, TV Stand and Cooker and each item already had the delivery price built into it so as they were all being sent to the same address I asked for a discount and they obliged. This also works on high cost items that you know you are only paying for the brand. An example of this are top branded trainers or sports equipment. You will find that if you buy 1 pair of trainers at full price a second identical pair will be discounted for you, how much discount depends on your bargaining skills and luck on the day.
The more you get used to asking for discount the easier it becomes, don’t demand a discount but also don’t ask expecting to be refused. If the sales person thinks they will get a big sale by giving you a discount you’ll get one, if they think you’ll buy anyway you won’t! Also don’t be upset if you get refused a discount, if it is something you wanted anyway then it was worth a try, the sales person may be playing hard ball so try another shop/store or try another sales representative on a different day. You have to weigh up if it is worth the hassle for a little discount but personally I love the bargaining game and try it everywhere and anywhere I can. Go on give it a go you will get some discount, all you have to do is ask.

Bunk Beds

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Now here’s the deal, I have two kids and I am lucky enough to have a 3 bedroom house. Like many homes we have 2 large bedrooms and one smaller (box) room, so the kids could have their own room but the box room houses the combi boiler and realistically isn’t big enough once your child is out of a cot. So luckily I got a computer/treadmill room and the kids got to share. At first this was no problem, my wife bought bunk beds that separated and we allowed the kids to have single bed each. The beds seemed massive with our little ones asleep in them, but alas children soon grow and the amount of necessities/toy/teddies/crap they accumulate is unbelievable as I’m sure any parent can testify!
When the eldest child reached 6 years of age (recommend age use by most bunk bed manufacturers) we put the bunk beds together, it absolutely amazed me how much amazement the kids found at this task! Once completed the kids couldn’t wait to get on them. We explained to the younger child (4 years old) that she was not allowed to go on the top bunk as she wasn’t old enough, which didn’t go down to well, but I showed them how easy it was to make the bottom bunk into a ‘den’ by tucking sheets under the top bunks mattress and the bottom bunk was also very ‘cool’.
We went to bed worried how they would get on and when we woke in the morning we could here the kids playing. To our surprise the little one was on the top bunk! But kids will be kids. Several months have passed and we can’t believe how the kids disappear upstairs to play in their room (now it has some floor space in it) and on their beds.
The bottom line is I would whole heartedly recommend getting bunk beds for your kids, the beds that separate are what we purchased and they give you the option to use the beds individually if required. We also bought the standard single size beds hoping that we could use them for years as the kids grow, however I have found a number of bunk beds on-line that have smaller dimensions in bed legth and width allowing the perfect fit for your child needs or rooms requirements.
If you only have one child they’re worth considering for the inevitable ‘sleep overs’ kids like to have, there are many styles and designs and I have even come across a double bed bottom bunk and single top, the Triple Bunk Bed. We love ours and hope you consider buying one.
Thanks for reading.

Worried about rising energy costs? Here are 10 crafty tricks to cut your bill

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1. Fix your deal to save £300

All of the big energy companies are announcing price rises. Battle the hikes by grabbing a cheaper tariff.

There is a £300-a-year difference between the best and worst tariffs, according to the price comparison website uSwitch.

Make sure you sign up to a fixed deal.

The lowest-cost deal available is First Utility’s iSave Fixed v4 March 2014. A family of four living in a three-bedroom, semi-detached house — seen as a typical customer — would pay, on average, £1,087 a year for gas and electricity.

Crafty tricks: Try these 10 tips to cut your billsCrafty tricks: Try these 10 tips to cut your bills

The price is fixed until March 2014.

In the unlikely event of prices falling heavily before then, you would have to pay a £30 exit fee for each fuel you use.

Deals without exit penalties include Scottish Power’s Online Fixed Price Energy April 2014 tariff. This costs a typical household £1,140 a year.

You need to act fast. The top deals are disappearing rapidly.

If you don’t want a long fixed deal, you can get First Utility iSave v12, which costs £1,054.

To see if you could save money, compare prices using the This is Money Fuel Bills Finder.

2. Stop paying by cash and cheque

You can make serious savings just by changing the way you pay your bills. Most energy companies reserve their best deals for online customers. So if you have access to a computer, use it.

Energy providers will also give you a better deal if you sign up to gas and electricity — a so-called dual fuel tariff.

You can also get a hefty discount — often as much as £100 a year on the average bill — if you pay by monthly direct debit.

Paying by cash or cheque is expensive. Only use this method of payment if you have to.

If you have access to the internet, you can also cut costs by viewing bills online, rather than receiving paper bills in the post.

Scottish and Southern Energy, for example, offers a £6 per fuel annual discount if you go paperless.

3. Put on a cardigan

Most families have the heating on at 20 degrees centigrade all day, and wander about the house in a blouse or T-shirt.

Turn down the thermostat just one degree, to 19 degrees, and put on a jumper or cardigan and you can shave 10 pc off your heating bill.

This is a £60 a year saving for the typical household.

You’ll hardly notice the difference if your house is well insulated.

If your hot water is piping hot, it’s probably too high. Set the thermostat to no more than 60c/140f.

Make sure the central heating and hot water are off when you’re out for the day — whether that’s at work, school or visiting relatives. Use the timer sparingly so it comes on only when necessary.

Turn off the radiators in rooms you’re not using and keep windows and doors closed if the heating is turned on.

Buy a hot water bottle — Tesco and Asda sell them for just £3.

Off: Don't waste money on lighting when you're outOff: Don’t waste money on lighting when you’re out

4. Turn off the lights

Lighting accounts for 19pc of the average household’s electricity bill. Energy-saving bulbs can knock £55 a year off your bills. These last ten times longer than normal versions, and use 80 pc less energy. Each bulb replaced can save you around £120 over its lifetime, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Ignore anyone who says it takes more electricity to switch lights back on than is saved switching them off — experts say that is just a myth.

Cut out any bad habits. Turning off lights when you nip to the shops on a gloomy winter evening and on landings at night can save £10 a year.

Unplug appliances that have a light on when idle. That’s the TV, DVD player and even the mobile phone charger.

Wait until the dishwasher is full before you switch it on — one full load uses less energy than two half loads.

5. Close the curtains

Don’t let heat slip through the cracks. Draw the curtains or blinds at night and use draught-blockers for doors.

Turn down the heat on your washing machine: use the 30 degrees setting or the quick wash function if your machine has one.

Use tumble-driers sparingly.

Don’t waste hot water — the more you use, the more you have to heat.

A dripping tap wastes enough hot water to fill 69 baths a year. Tighten it with a spanner or ask a friend or plumber.

Running a bath uses up to 100 litres of water. Showering instead uses much less — rarely more than 35 litres — and saves £18 a year.

In the kitchen, only boil as much water as you need (as long as it covers the element in the kettle).

A good idea is to measure out how many cups of tea you want to make. This can save £7 a year on its own.

Put a lid on saucepans if you’re boiling vegetables or rice and turn down the heat on the hob.

6. Claim your benefits

Last year, the Government paid out £2.1 billion in winter fuel benefits to more than 12 million people. The winter fuel payment is an annual, tax-free benefit paid to people over the age of 61, irrespective of how much they earn.

The amount you receive ranges between £200 and £300, depending on your age and circumstances. For example, people aged between 61 and 70 can claim up to £200. Those aged over 80 can claim up to the full £300. However, if you live with a partner who also qualifies you will get only part of the benefit. Be aware that the qualifying age for this benefit for men and women is rising in line with the increase in women’s state pension age — currently 61.

A separate benefit, called the cold weather payment, is paid in the event of exceptionally cold weather.

If the temperature is below zero degrees Celsius in your postcode area for seven days in a row between November and March, you will receive an extra £25.

These payments are usually paid automatically to those who are eligible.

But if you haven’t received the payment before and are not getting the state pension or another benefit, you may need to apply.

Men under 65 who are too young to claim their state pension are most likely to miss out.

7. Read your meter regularly

Avoid estimated bills at all costs. This is when your energy supplier guesses how much energy you use in a year and averages it out. It can leave you paying much more than you need.

Provide your supplier with accurate meter readings instead.

Check your meter once every three months at the very least. Record your usage by calling your supplier or setting up an online account.

If you’re heavily in credit, ask for some money back — this way it will be earning interest in your bank account.

If your provider kicks up a fuss, quote ‘condition 27 of the Gas Supply Licence’. This states that credits must be refunded and direct debits fair.

8. Replace your boiler

Getting rid of an old boiler can cut costs dramatically over the longer term.

Boilers swallow 79 pc of your total fuel usage, according to Energy Saving Trust.

Scrapping a creaking model and putting in a more efficient one can cut bills by as much as £240 a year.

However, you’ll have to splash out to see these benefits.

Get quotes — don’t simply get your energy company to fit one. The prices can be vastly inflated compared with what an independent plumber will cost you.

The top new boilers from brands such as Vaillant, Worcester or Baxi cost anything from £600 to more than £2,000.

And getting a plumber to fit it can cost another £600.

If you spent £1,800 getting a new A-rated efficiency model to replace a G-rated boiler, you’d save £237 a year, according to price comparison website USwitch.

For bigger houses and families, this may be a good idea — for pensioners, however, it’s likely to be impractical and expensive.

Due to the initial cost, it would take 10½ years to break even.

9. Get free insulation

Take advantage of free insulation deals. Making your home more energy-efficient could shave hundreds of pounds off your bill each year.

Loft insulation alone can save you up to £175 a year, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Cavity wall insulation adds a further £135 saving.

Savings: Loft insulation being fittedSavings: Loft insulation being fitted

Energy suppliers are offering free deals because they have to meet strict efficiency targets, set by the government or face a fine.

This means even middle and high-income households can take advantage.

British Gas, for example, is offering free insulation worth up to £1,000 to all households, regardless of their energy supplier.

But you must apply before the end of November and your home must also meet certain requirements — for example, having less than 60mm of loft insulation. Call 0800 048 0505.

British Gas is also paying a £50 referral fee to anyone who puts forward a vulnerable household for free insulation. The person you refer will get £50, too.

The very poorest can also claim up to £3,500 in government grants to help. The Warm Front scheme pays a company to improve insulation on your loft, cavity walls and hot-water tank.

To qualify, you must receive Pension Credit with your state pension, have an income below £15,860 and receive Child Tax Credit or Working Tax credits, or claim income support.

10… And buy some clingfilm

Double-glazing your windows can save you up to £165 a year.

But just like a boiler, the initial outlay will put off some people.

Prices vary wildly between providers. Expect to pay from £350 for each small bedroom window, ranging into the thousands to fit more than one room.

However, these fees can tumble thousands of pounds if you haggle with the suppliers, says consumer group Which?

Make sure that you get a minimum of three quotes so you can compare them — and then don’t be afraid to drive the price down.

A wacky alternative is to use cling film. This creates a DIY double glazing effect by trapping the hot air in.

But instead of stuff you buy at the supermarket, go to your DIY store and ask for ‘double-glazing film’ or ‘stretch wrap’.

Six square metres of Stormguard double-glazing film costs £7.19 from Homebase and is fixed to the window using a hairdryer

Millions of Corrie fans exposed to Gas Safe Register’s messages on the ‘silent killer’

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Gas Safe Register is working with ITV on a storyline that will see Coronation Street’s Fiz Brown, played by Jennie McAlpine, face the silent killer – carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Due to broadcast later this year, the story will highlight to the soap’s eight million viewers how illegal and unqualified gas work is dangerous and can lead to CO poisoning.

Character Fiz Brown will collapse at home after Tyrone Dobbs, played by Alan Halsall, fixes her boiler despite not being qualified or registered to do so.

The Register has been working with ITV to ensure that the dangers of gas, in particular the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, are portrayed properly to the public.

Paul Johnston, chief executive at Gas Safe Register, said: “As part of our role is to raise public awareness of gas safety, we have been working with Coronation Street and various other TV programmes and soaps to get gas safety messages out to as many people as possible.

“When we worked with BBC on Eastenders last year we received huge support from engineers and other industry members for portraying the real life dangers of illegal gas work, so it’s great to work with another popular soap in bringing gas safety to the forefront of people’s minds.

In a recent survey carried out to mark Gas Safety Week, results found that there is widespread confusion among the public about the symptoms of CO poisoning.

Over half of people think memory loss and a funny taste in the mouth are main symptoms of CO poisoning.

“With around 4,000 people a year going to hospital with CO symptoms, we are pleased that Coronation Street is helping to raise awareness of CO among millions of people,” said Johnston. “Recognising the six symptoms of CO poisoning could save lives. These are headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness. The storyline will also highlight how important it is for the public to only use a Gas Safe registered engineer.”

What is BioEthanol?

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We have all heard a lot in the past couple of years about Bio-Ethanol and how it has become a viable alternative to gas, electric or solid fuel fires, but where does it come from? What Is It? We take a look at Bio-Ethanol and where it comes from.

Bioethanol has a number of advantages over conventional fuels. It comes from a renewable resource i.e. crops and not from a resource that will eventually run out such as oil and gas and the crops it derives from can grow well in the UK (like cereals, sugar beet and maize). Another benefit over fossil fuels is the greenhouse gas emissions.

By encouraging bioethanol’s use, the rural economy would also receive a boost from growing the necessary crops. Bioethanol is also biodegradable and far less toxic than fossil fuels.

Bioethanol fuel is mainly produced by the sugar fermentation process, although it can also be manufactured by the chemical process of reacting ethylene with steam.

The main sources of sugar required to produce ethanol come from fuel or energy crops. These crops are grown specifically for energy use and include corn, maize and wheat crops, waste straw, willow and popular trees, sawdust, reed canary grass, cord grasses, jerusalem artichoke, myscanthus and sorghum plants. There is also ongoing research and development into the use of solid wastes to produce ethanol fuel.

Ethanol or ethyl alcohol, to use its full name, is a clear colourless liquid, it is biodegradable, low in toxicity and causes little environmental pollution if spilt. Ethanol burns to produce carbon dioxide and water, making it ideal for houses without a chimney, but want that living flame.

Dine In Style

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With what little summer we had looking as if it is already on its way out, most people will be moving back inside as the nights close in. What better way to spend a cold evening with the family that around one of these stunning dining tables. Available with some beautiful upholstered chairs  to really complete the look.

Firstly let me present the Kudos Large Dining Table (Right) built using high-quality, sustainable darkwood, with no veneers in sight, just solid ask with a hard wearing lacquer applied to ensure that your dining table can withstand the knocks and bumps of cutlery and plates, especially during the busy festive period.

You can almost imagine family and friends around these tables at Christmas, party hats, crackers and a lovely meal.

Both these dining tables feature Heavy duty packaging – carton, corner protectors and fleece to ensure your item arrives with you in A1 condition.

For a more Contemporary finish the Aston Oak Dining Table is built to a slightly more contemporary design and features solid oak and some veneers to ensure the furniture looks its best. Much like it’s darkwood counterpart, features a hard wearing lacquer to ensure that your furniture stays in top condition for a long to to come.

You’ll never want to eat in front of the TV again with these dining tables from House 2 Home Megastore

Napoleon® Grills – new to the UK but thirty-six years in the making.

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There’s a new kid on the barbecue block and it is comes with every knob, grate, grill, bell and whistle you can imagine. Designed and refined in Canada, Napoleon® Grills offers a premium range of charcoal and gas barbecues that has been developed over many years to meet the demands of the North American market.

The Napoleon® Grills gas barbecue range takes no prisoners.  The focus is on packing a punch with features included as standard – not as extras, such as the SE series.

Napoleon® Grills uses the best materials; double-lined steel lids means they hold their heat and add strength and durability. There are large cooking areas with warming racks; side burners are standard and perfect for side dishes and grates are cast iron – the best material for transmitting heat evenly. Ignition is electronic, there’s utensils holders, bottle openers, temperature gauges, the list goes on and all as standard.

It does not need to cost much more before rotisseries, ice buckets, cutting boards and infrared SIZZLE ZONE™ for perfectly seared meat, also become standard. Take the LE, it even has backlit control knobs, and two halogen lamps at the back, darkness is no excuse to stop grilling!

Top of the range and retailing at £3499 is the Prestige II PT750. This is engineered to meet the exacting standards of the died-in-the-wool barbecue enthusiast.  The PT750 is not for lightweights, but for those that like to buy the very best tool for the job and truly enjoy outdoor living and cooking. There are two quite separate cooking zones each having its own lid allowing the chef to use just some or all of the grill depending on numbers. There are a total of six burners, including a side burner and infrared SIZZLE ZONE™. Its specification ticks all of the boxes and without doubt it will impress the neighbours!

Barbecue on the move, ideal for caravans and campers alike, the TravelQ™ is a stylish folding gas barbecue, with cast iron grate, in a vibrant orange or bright blue finish and retails at £199. Easy to start, this model uses standard portable propane canisters or can be connected to a larger propane tank.  Bag and stand are optional extras.

The best of both worlds?  Why not.  Check out the Charcoal Smoker Tray it turns a gas barbecue into a charcoal one for just £49.99 and can be used in conjunction with several gas barbecues in the Napoleon® Grills range.


  • A full selection; charcoal starters to get barbecues going, covers to protect and scrapers and brushes to clean and maintain.
  • Tongs, forks, slices, basting brushes – all the standard tools the griller expects and needs.
  • Cooking aids such as fish baskets, woks, chicken roasters, toppers, shish kebab sets, pizza stones, rib pans, frying pans and griddles.

A bit intimidated, shy, or just not sure what to ask?

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New Phone App helps you talk to your tradesman.

It’s no wonder so many people end up with problems with their builders, plumbers, electricians and other tradesmen.

Over half of British homeowners admit that they forget to ask the right questions when they invite tradesmen into their homes to quote for a job, and almost one in five of us forgets to ask a really important question.  Too often we are handing over the repair, maintenance or improvement of our most prized possession – our home – after only the briefest of conversations.

Younger homeowners are particularly vulnerable and lacking in confidence, with almost half turning to their parents for help when it comes to employing a tradesman.

But smartphone technology has come to the rescue.

TrustMark, the Government endorsed quality mark to help people find reputable tradesmen, has launched a new phone app to help us ask all the right questions and to have more confident conversations with a tradesman before we accept a quote for work to be done in or around our home.

Liz Male, Chairman of TrustMark, said:

“Trying to remember all the questions you really should ask, or actually having the confidence to ask all those questions when you’ve got a tradesman in your home, is not that easy, even for the most experienced of customers. And how many of us remember the detail of what we discussed the moment that tradesman walks out the door?

“The TrustMark app helps to solve that problem.  In 11 easy steps, the app creates an instant record of the conversation. It prompts questions and provides advice at every stage telling you what to look out for and your consumer rights.  You can record what is agreed using text, photos and record a brief audio note, and then email a copy to yourself and the tradesman.  You can compare notes on the firms you see.  And if you’re not intending to draw up a proper contract when the job goes ahead, this is probably the next best thing.”

The TrustMark app was launched by Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, at a reception in Westminster attended by trade bodies and consumer protection groups.

Vince Cable said:

“The majority of work carried out by our trades is done to a very high standard. TrustMark has been successfully providing consumers with an impartial assessment of the standards of local tradespeople, to help them make informed decisions when hiring contractors to improve their homes.

“The newly launched application provides another useful tool to consumers by bringing TrustMark’s expert guidance directly to householders through the latest innovative channels.”

The app launch has been sponsored by Stephen Lloyd, MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon who, following the jailing of four cowboy builders in his local area, has championed the services offered by TrustMark.

He led the  Westminster Hall debate in 2011 which discussed what the Government had in place to combat rogue tradesmen  and how TrustMark is raising standards by giving homeowners greater guidance and protection.

Stephen Lloyd MP said:

“This app will help protect consumers as well as providing support for home refurbishment  initiatives such as the forthcoming Green Deal scheme which aims to help and encourage people to upgrade and improve the energy efficiency of  their homes.”

Ron Gainsford, Chief Executive of the Trading Standards Institute, said:

“This new app from TrustMark is excellent as it gives consumers increased empowerment and guidance when talking to tradesmen, prior to employing them to do work on their homes.”

Emma Clancy, Chief Executive of Ascertiva Group, said:

“TrustMark’s new ‘talk to your tradesman’ app will help improve communications between the tradesman and the homeowner, ensuring any misunderstandings are avoided from day one.”

So whether it is to fit a new Gas Fire, Cooker, Stove or simply wanting to have a towel radiator put in? The TrustMark app is free and available for iPhones from today, with additional versions for other smartphones coming later this year.

Quality hardwood furniture can’t be beaten.

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Hardwood furniture, when well treated, beautifully worked and hand crafted, is the perfect choice for your home. That’s because it will not only last for years, but it looks stunning, bringing real quality and class to your home.

The Advantages of Hardwood Furniture

It’s always tempting to save money by choosing inferior materials, such as plastic, veneers or softwoods (pine, etc. ) but in the long run, you will spend again on replacements, meaning that your choice of furniture could actually cost you more in the long term. Instead, hardwood furniture is a genuine investment, which also gives you the following benefits:

Natural beauty of Hardwood Furniture

The woods used for hardwood furniture, such as oak, mahogany and mango, all have natural beauty, bringing the warmth of real wood to your home. A genuine piece of hardwood furniture is easy to spot because its quality stands out and it feels great to the touch.

Hardwood Furniture is Long-Lasting

Buy a piece of good quality oak hardwood furniture, bedroom furniture for example, and it will last you a lifetime. It’s no surprise that hardwood furniture gains antique status more than any other material – not only can it improve with age, but it often outlasts its owners!

Hardwood Furniture is Durable

We all know how easy it is to buy cheap, veneered furniture because it doesn’t matter if it gets damaged by the children, the pets or other daily hazards. In fact, if durability is a worry for you, choose hardwood furniture. Traditional woods such as mahogany, oak and mango are extremely tough and can withstand the odd scratch, which in most cases can be polished out and bigger problems easily repaired, when you would have to write off the cheap furniture and replace it. It’s obvious that cheap, mass-produced furniture is a false economy. If you love high quality furniture, don’t compromise your home furnishings because you’re concerned about daily life taking its toll then invest in hand crafted, solid hardwood furniture.

These are just some of the reasons why buying solid hardwood furniture for your home is the right choice. Whether it’s just one or two pieces to start with, or an entire furniture set so that your room is co-ordinated and you make the most of price offers in a furniture sale, there’s no beating the beauty of hardwood furniture.