Save on appliances

by sw on February 16, 2012

The rising costs of energy have put a strain on many households’ finances. According to research by Smart New Homes, this means 82% of home buyers now look for energy-efficient features in a new home.

If you’re staying put, though, there are ways to reduce your home’s running costs. One simple approach is to replace appliances with more energy-efficient versions when the time comes. The energy labels will help you choose, but there are plenty of A-rated appliances out there, so most of us will end up relying on the price tag.

Yet an appliance that seems cheap when you key in your card details can end up costing you far more over its lifetime than one where the initial outlay is greater – despite the fact that both are A rated.

To get the best deal you need to know the total of the purchase price plus the running costs of the appliances you’re interested in, and there is a simple way to find out. Which? has created an energy cost calculator that will allow you to compare lifetime costs for all the fridges, washing machines, tumble-dryers, dishwashers and TVs it has tested. Useful in these tough times when a little help in reducing electricity bills won’t go amiss.

Lunch on the run

by sw on February 14, 2012

A fifth of British workers regularly exercise during their lunch hours, according to a survey for Helly Hansen. While this is positive health news, you might want to spare a thought for many of the exercisers’ colleagues – nearly half of those questioned didn’t bother to shower afterwards.

To keep up your physical activity without offending those who share your office space, what about trying one of these approaches?

  1. Don’t run in too many layers. Beginners can be tempted to overdress, making your efforts sweatier affairs than they need to be.
  2. Try a Pilates session instead. It will strengthen your core – essential for running – and help counter the effects of sitting in one position at a desk for many hours of the day. It shouldn’t make you break into a sweat, either.
  3. Swap a longer run for a quick session. A warm-up then hill repeats plus a cool down will leave time for a shower and boost your running strength. Discover more ideas at runbritain.

Buy British?

by sw on February 7, 2012

The summer press previews are in full swing, and there are no prizes for guessing that with both the home Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee coming up, both Union Jacks and all things royal and vintage-themed for the home are plentiful.

An investigation in the Daily Mail found that 91% of the London 2012 souvenirs were made abroad with two-thirds of them coming from China.

If you’d like to support British manufacture and design while indulging in a little light celebratory fervour, how about supporting a traditional British industry? Emma Bridgewater has its own factory in Staffordshire where these Diamond Jubilee ceramics – along with other designs – are made, helping to keep alive a traditional British industry.